They Deserve It: Next Time Trump's Cult Assaults the Media, No Need to Rush to Their Defense
To Donald Trump, the press is the “enemy of the people.” Trump’s supporters at his rallies are openly hostile to the press. They scream, yell and physically threaten news reporters and filming crews. The Trump White House pulls press passes when it doesn’t like a question being asked.
Every single time, liberals have defended the the idea of a media free from intimidation or extortion, especially from those in power. Every single time, liberals have rushed to the defense of the press.
It is clear today that those defenses, in many cases, were patently undeserved, and quite obviously, they didn’t work.
Major networks have now decided to air a prime-time screed of lies on immigration from Donald Trump in the midst of a government shutdown caused entirely by Trump and his party. It is outrageous enough that the same media that Donald Trump has called the enemy of the people is now poised to elevate Trump’s message of hate and his attempt to use his hate to force funding for a wall the only purpose of which is to be a sign of white supremacy and xenophobia.
And unfortunately, it falls on the comedians employed by the networks to call out their employers on their utter capitulation to a man who believes neither in diversity nor in a free press.
What makes this decision even more outrageous is that when President Obama asked for airtime to address immigration and DACA in 2014, the networks summarily rejected his request. But then, President Obama wanted time to confront and discuss a serious policy solution whereas all Trump’s address is likely to generate is salacious hate chatter with no serious policy solution.
Some of the media figures even tried to explain the glaring discrimination by saying that well, Obama’s address was in the sixth year of his presidency whereas Trump’s would be in the second year of his, and that Trump is giving his first Oval Office address whereas Obama had already given a few.
Let’s cut through the bs. Covering Trump and refusing to cover Obama has nothing to do with numeric sequences. It has to do with the fact that Barack Obama was brainy… and black.
The media has learned nothing after neglecting to hold Trump accountable for the entire 2016 campaign cycle while they focused on Russian backed Wikileaks-leaked cooking recipes. They have gotten no better at their job to use their privileges under the First Amendment to hold the Trump administration to account.
And so, we need to stop coming to their defense the next time one of the networks that capitulated to Trump gets in trouble, or one of their reporters feel intimidated at a Trump rally, or they find it offensive to be called the enemy. We have to make it clear that they cannot continuously give voice and airtime to lies and hate and still expect to be supported when they are in trouble.
Free press is paramount. But a media that capitulates to petulant intimidation is not free. Networks that have lost their perspective on policy vs. dog-blowhorning can barely be called press. Places that refuse to recognize blatant racism in their own coverage do not deserve our defense.
At some point, we have to start talking about not just the essential freedoms of the press but the deep and serious responsibility that accompanies that freedom. At some point, we have to start realizing that networks, media stations and outlets that refuse to take that responsibility seriously have no meaningful claim to the mantle of a free press.
At some point, we, the people who believe in the free press, have to stop unconditionally defending outlets from the attacks, assaults, and climate of hate they invite through their own decisions.
If you ask me, we are at that point.
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